The allure of spending the holidays in New York City comes in many forms, including ice skating at Bryant Park, indulging in scrumptious gingerbread houses from William Poll and watching the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. But if your ancestors were more Maccabee than Wise Men, it can be a bit trickier to find the right way to commemorate the most wonderful time of the year. Fortunately, New York is full of diverse ways to celebrate—especially with food. Whether you're looking for latkes or a good jelly doughnut, here are some of the best places to find Hanukkah fare in NYC.
What’s not to love about the golden fried goodness of a homemade latke? The freshly fried latkes at Barney Greengrass, a 100 year-old Jewish restaurant and deli on the Upper West Side, are sure to hit the mark. Year-round these latkes are an off-menu, weekends specific item—available only to those who know to ask for them. But during the eight days of Hanukkah they’re a staple of the restaurant’s menu. Just be sure to order a side of whitefish or Nova Scotia salmon to go with them.
If you can appreciate a fried holiday treat but prefer sweet over savory, then sufganiyot (otherwise known as jelly doughnuts) will be right up your alley. At Bread’s Bakery in Lincoln Center (located just a ten-minute walk away from WestHouse) you’ll have your pick from the traditional strawberry filled jelly doughnuts, as well as the chocolate, vanilla and halva flavors.
Want to see how far you can stretch your sweet tooth this holiday? Then head to the Red Hook bakery, Baked, which is known for going all out for the festival of lights with blue and white Hanukkah cakes, Star of David shaped sugar cookies, and gelt and dreidel decorated cupcakes. Prepare to sugar overload.
Like many Jewish delicacies, a good brisket usually makes its way to the table during several holidays. If you don’t have the patience or expertise to make it at home but love its tender and smoky flavors, then a trip to Izzy’s Smokehouse in Crown Heights is in the cards. Izzy Eidelman opened the kosher barbeque joint in 2005, and was recently crowned Brisket King (dethroning former king Lawrence La Pianta) of NYC. Grab the famed sandwich with a side of pickles and house slaw for a finger-licking good meal.